Financial advisers safely relying upon third party (independent) research to defend product recommendations is a myth. Many currently believe that through the simple act of out-sourcing product research, and then relying upon the research houses rating of a product, is in itself a recommendation of suitability for clients.
There is a side issue of course as to whether even that is credible research given the conflicted fee-charging methodology of many research houses. However, let's put that aside for the moment and assume that all research conducted on financial products is unbiased, utterly independent, and thoroughly academic. (yeah, right).
There have been a couple of cases in Australia that are very pertinent for NZ advisers. Google and read up on them: "Delmenico v Brannelly & Anor" is one. The Financial Ombudsman Service's Determination 18959 is another (with a link to the full finding below). FOS 18959 is particularly revealing over a number of advice issues.